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DSSAB chair confident board can find four percent savings in budget

The chair of the Nipissing DSSAB is confident the board can meet the Ford government’s drive to save four cents on the dollar.

Mark King says the board was concerned over how the province rolled out the drive for a four percent cut because the local budget had been set.

However, he says the board was proactive to make ends meet because King says there are no alternatives.

“We can’t continue to spend like we’ve been spending and run (operations) on debt,” King said.

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“It’s not going to work.  The province has a $15-billion deficit and a billion dollars a month is paid on interest because of the overall debt.  We all have to find ways to circumvent the problem that the province finds itself in.”

King says the DSSAB has been able to save money by making adjustments in the child-care sector.

He also says the board tapped into an early retirement opportunity when EMS Chief Jean Guy Belzile announced his retirement.

King says there was enough in this year’s budget to allow Belzile to retire early, which he plans to do at the end of July.

With Belzile leaving as EMS Chief, King says the position will not be filled.

Rather part of his responsibilities will move into the EMS finance department.

“And part of it will go to another section within the organization where we felt there was a little bit of slack in there to take that up,” King said.

“This fits the scheme in what the province has been saying with these mid-management positions where there’s an opportunity to discontinue a position but at the same time not affect the individuals that are working in them.”

King says the frontline workers have been told they have the full support of the board

“We know the call volumes are increasing and we know these people work extremely hard,” he said.

“We’re extremely supportive in what they do and will do everything we can in our power to maintain the service at the present level.  There’s no question in my mind we can reach the four cents on the dollar.  And we also want to make sure that we don’t impact the people that are working inside the organization.  We want to make sure that we do this properly.”

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